Wednesday, 9 November 2016

President Donald J. Trump - the lessons learnt from the 2016 election

Trump delivering his speech post victory

The entire campaign was dismissed as a joke Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the office of President of The United States in mid-2015 as, back then, the establishment favourites for rebublican nomination was still Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. 

However, he started appealing to the far-right of the public announcing certain populist yet unrealistic plans, such as building a wall across the US-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it for the latter is sending US 'drugs and rapists', his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States (and then strangely announced an exception for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan); his plans to defeat ISIS, bring back torture and waterboarding and of course, his master plan of bringing 'jobs back to the country' even though he never announced how he is going to do it.

While he has announced no concrete plan for any of them, he managed to appeal to the far right fascist elements that the country was once great and today everyone is looting the once great nation and he'd help them regain their lost glory and picked on a suitable jingoistic slogan - Make America Great Again. Whether these plans materialise or not, what it has shown us today is that it is definitely effective to win public support, akin to what happened during Britain's EU referendum. However, despite Mr. Brexit Nigel Farage sharing a stage with Trump and the latter continually drawing inspiration from Brexit, going on to announce November 8th 2016 as independence day for the United States, very similar to what Farage did, which could perhaps be construed as an insult to the founding fathers of The United States; I shall not compare Brexit and the US Presidential election because: 

Trump denied climate change, promised to violate nuclear non-proliferation treaty, break an alliance with Japan, disband NATO, reduce taxes for wealthy (backed up by a baseless trickle down argument) but then, while I can find these ideas stupid, the people knew that a Trump presidency means whatever I have already stated and they felt it was still worth it and he has very broad plans whereas in case of Brexit, the  politicians who campaigned for it have no clue how to go about it, till date, nearly five months on. Moreover, if Trump really fails to deliver on his promises, he could be voted out in four years whereas, reversal of Brexit is not really possible. 

At the end of the day, Democrats would have to wonder what went wrong for them, considering they had an experienced candidate with some controversies around her which even Trump does, I felt the underlying assumption that all of Sanders' votes were transferrable to Clinton turned out to be a mistake, especially considering the loss in Michigan which was last won by a Republican in 1988, by George Bush Sr. The loss in Wisconsin too, is perhaps a surprise for the Clinton campaign followed by the loss in nearly every swing state, maybe Clinton could have campaigned more, maybe Sanders could have campaigned more aggressively to avoid a Trump presidency, maybe the super delegates shouldn't have given an overwhelming support to the Clinton campaign during the primaries but in the end, the Democrats are losing some of their core voters and something needs to be done to prevent a repeat of Trump Presidency. 

The debate that took place in 2000 would start again, where George W. Bush had more electoral college votes whereas Al Gore had the higher popular vote and with the ongoing trend, it seems like this election is going to end up the same way and the silver lining is the fact that Trump can't claim that a majority are behind him for, he is president only because of the system he claims to be rigged. This is the second time in five elections that this is happening and perhaps, it indicates a serious rethink is required to reform and revamp the current system. 

On a side note, I also found the Liberals unusually silent throughout the campaign, while the internet was filled with far-right pro-Trump banners (comments section), nobody from the public bothered to speak for the liberals except the liberal leaning mainstream media (Fox News excluded). The same thing happened for Brexit and I believe, that as liberals, we must increase our voice on social media and show that we too have the numbers and the voice. I wrote an article earlier in this blog titled Noise or Voice? following the failure of UKIP in 2015 general election in UK but then, I take those words back and I shall do my best to keep liberalism alive and I could only hope that Le Pen doesn't end up as President of France in 2017, for, whatever she has wanted has been happening so far, be it Brexit or Trump winning the election; the liberal voice is needed to stop Le Pen to become the President of France. In a world that is coming ever closer through technology, we cannot let it stop by opportunistic politicians. 

Perhaps what every politician in the world has learnt is that to win an election, you don't need sound plans or experience, all you need is to make populist statements backed up by jingoistic remarks and the latter cannot be contested because if you do, you are immediately deemed unpatriotic and of course, is also very unpopular with the electorate and on the other side, such slogans are very popular with the voters.  

Another critical personal lesson I have learned today is, tactical voting is very important, all along I voted on principles, even if I knew that my favourite candidate had nil chances of winning but then, now I realise that I should change my ways considering what has happened in this case, I am sure a majority of Gary Johnson or Jill Stein voters (a number over five million) would not have preferred a Trump presidency, especially the 1 million people who voted Jill Stein and had they voted tactically, the results could have been different.

I could only hope that Trump doesn't ignore climate change in its entirety, and upholds the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, realises that the strength of the United States is its diversity and not go on a witch hunt against every non-white. I also hope he stops admiring authoritarians such as Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-Un and uphold the values that US brought to the world. I really am not bothered about what he did or said in the past, but I hope he does better in the future and manages to maintain the respect that President Obama brought to the office and it is a great start that he has tried to strike a conciliatory note in his victory speech (unlike his Brexit counterparts) and I hope this carried on.

He need not make America great again, merely needs to retain its greatness. 

Have a nice day,

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